Quang Ninh lost 1-2 to Sanna Khanh Hoa in a match marred by violence while two capital-based clubs, Hanoi and Hanoi T&T, were both crushed in the first round of the V-League during the weekend.
Quang Ninh and Sanna Khanh Hoa, ranked fourth and fifth last season, were expected to offer interesting fare at Cam Pha Stadium, especially after the former, the host, had signed up seven young players from the Vietnam Professional Football Academy last November.
Khanh Hoa went ahead in the 23rd minute through a free kick by Nigerian striker Iheruome Uche who played for Quang Ninh last season.
Quang Ninh lost their temper in the 63rd minute after Cao Van Trien scored a second goal, and began to repeatedly foul.
Referee Tran Xuan Nguyen issued five yellow cards to Quang Ninh, including two to Thanh Hien, and three to Khanh Hoa.
But he was later criticized for poor decision-making on several occasions by ignoring Van Khoa's petulant behaviour in pushing him, and issuing only a yellow card against him for throwing elbows at a Khanh Hoa player.
Quang Ninh coach Pham Nhu Thuan, who said his players had missed many opportunities to score a goal, remained optimistic.
“New Russian midfielder Rodion Dyachenko needs more time,” he said.
Bad day for Hanoi teams
At Hang Day Stadium, host Hanoi lost 0-5 to Hoang Anh Gia Lai on their V-League debut.
The latter were without Cong Phuong and Tuan Anh, who have gone to play in Japan’s J-League 2, and Xuan Truong, who now plays for Incheon Club in Korea.
But they scored five times, all in the last 15 minutes, through Van Thanh, who got a brace, and Tran Vu, Hong Duy, and Van Toan.
“My family came to the stadium to cheer me. It was important to score two goals and I want to dedicate them to my parents and girlfriend,” Thanh said.
At Thanh Hoa Stadium, Thanh Hoa had an easy 3-0 win over Hanoi T&T with a double by Senegalese striker Pape Qmar Faye in the 2nd and 71st minutes sandwiching one by Dinh Tung in the 39th minute.
The Primero One Plus ball is being used in the V-League this season. Photo: Bach Duong.
Many coaches and players have complained about the new balls that they were given only a few days before the start of the season.
The local Dong Luc ball has been replaced by the Primero One Plus made in Thailand by Grand Sport, which is said to be of better quality.
“The new ball is bouncing less and more unpredictable,” Can Tho coach Vu Quang Bao said after his team lost 0-2 to host and defending champion Becamex Binh Duong.